IRIS (Interest & Recruitment in Science) addresses the challenge that few young people (women in particular) choose education and career in science, technology and mathematics (STM). Women represent the greatest recruitment potential to STM; moreover, a higher participation from women may expand the ways of thinking and working within this area and contribute to gender equity. To understand and respond to this challenge, diverse causes and cures must be sought, ranging from school experiences and youth culture via higher education STM curricula and recruitment efforts, up to research department culture, PhD choice and employment patterns. IRIS aims to contribute to understanding and improving recruitment, retention and gender equity patterns in higher STM education. 1. On what priorities, values and experiences do young people base their educational choice? - How may youth's educational choice be interpreted through sociological perspectives on late modern societies? What makes many women turn away from STM? - Which considerations determine choice of PhD research topic for female and male STM students? 2. What are the success factors for efforts aimed at recruiting more (female) students to STM? - What features of STM education, in secondary school and at university level, influence recruitment of (female) students? - What are the effects of STM recruitment initiatives? 3. In what proportions, and for what reasons, do STM students opt out of STM education? - Are there differences in opt-out-rates between countries, institutions and genders? The main instrument will be a questionnaire to be completed by first-year students. All partners will contribute to instrument development, data collection and analysis, each with a specific focus. Questionnaire data will be complemented by literature reviews and smaller quantitative and qualitative studies. Central stakeholders will be brought into the work and results will be disseminated widely.
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